Poor Eric and Bob had lots of meetings on Thursday so we all went out to HaiDiLao for dinner at the end of the day. We LOVE HaiDiLao, the place is seriously amazing, and we're like celebrities there. Ever since the first time Eric took us with Richard, whenever we go we never have to wait for a table, even if the place is packed. They always seat us right away, I think it's because we're fat americans so they think we'll order more, which to be fair, we probably do.
Even if we weren't celebrities there, the wait would still be awesome. The way HaiDiLao is set up, even when you're waiting for a table they take great care of you. There are snacks and games, and if you want you can get a hand massage, or get your hair cut or your shoes shine, or have your nails done, FOR FREE while you wait. It is truly amazing and full service and I have never met a nicer staff.
Our Miso Base:
Anyway, we decided that rather than getting the two variations of cooking soup/sauce that we usually do, one spicy and one more miso-esque that we would just do the miso-esque one and I'm quite please that we did, it was great. We had mushrooms, lotus root, bamboo shoots, cabbage, tofu strips, shrimp balls, beef balls and thin slices of beef and Kung Fu Noodles. We love HaiDiLao, it's like fondue in the sense that you cook the food yourself, but even better because there's a spice bar.
I love the shrimp balls, lotus root and tofu the best. I think they pick up the most flavor, and have the best texture. The tofu is neat because instead of being chunks, they're strips of tofu that are textured. And if you've never had lotus root you should definitely try it out. It's very similar to a potato, but I think it's a little sweeter. After it's been sitting in the the soup mixture for a while it's all nice and tender but still has a little bit of a crisp bite to it. YUMMY!
The Kung Fu Noodles are pretty rad. They call them Kung Fu noodles because when you order them a guy comes to your table with just a ball of dough and then starts to kneed it and then twirl it like a ribbon to get it thin and it's like watching an olympic sport.
Kung Fu Noodle Awesomeness:
The spice bar is seriously amazing, there is every kind of spice you could ever want and more, plus a sort of salad bar area. I typically like crushed garlic, seasame seeds, thai peppers, chili sauce, mushroom sauce and various other things all mixed together to dip my food in. There's also peanuts, cherry tomatoes and sugar cane for you to snack on, plus they'll bring slices of cantaloupe and watermelon to your table. It's an eating extravaganza.
They also provide you with red aprons so you don't spill on yourself, which I definitely appreciate as I have managed to ruin some of my clothes here with all the grease in the food. They'll also give you wipes for your glasses for at the end of the meal to wipe all the steam off your lenses. And there's a wonderful woman who comes by the table all the time with hot clothes to wipe your hands and face off with.
Bob modeling his apron:
HaiDiLao is actually a chain, and we've tried one of their locations in Beijing as well and it was just as awesome. I will definitely miss eating at HaiDiLao when we return to the states, it's just a great eating experience.